Extending the Reach of Medical Care for Remote First Nations Communities: Beyond Technology

John Pawlovich, Marie-Pierre Dallaire

Abstract


As British Columbia’s life expectancy (81.1 years) continues to increase for the majority of the population, historically, it has been significantly lower (74.7 years) for First Nations, Metis and Inuit populations.[[1]] Suicide, traumatic injuries, infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, complications of diabetes, and heart disease are general culprits.[[2]] Despite obvious needs in terms of primary and specialty care, recruitment and retention of physicians in remote communities remain a systemic challenge. While the life expectancy differential cannot be accounted for solely by the difference in healthcare providers’ distribution, the physician–to–patient ratio is an internationally recognized index of general health. Moreover, the literature recognizing the effect of the ratio of primary care providers to population as a main contributor to general population health is abundant.[[3],[4]]


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